Mob justice has no place in Sierra Leone – madam Fatima Bio must take note

Yankuba Kai Samba: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 5 July 2020:

Mob justice undermines the rule of law and makes the work of our police more difficult. Standing next to her husband – the president of Sierra Leone, Mrs Fatima Jabbie Bio two days ago,  called on people to ‘strip naked and beat up men accused of raping their girls before the police gets involved’.

This is outrageous, irresponsible and frankly unacceptable. The inspector of police should have a word with Fatima Bio.

Mob rule is violence, and it is  extra-judicial and has no regard for the functioning laws of the land.

Fatima Bio, being the ‘mother of Sierra Leone’, by virtue of her being the wife of the president, should be more responsible in her comments because her statements can influence the actions of  communities in society. Innocent people can get killed based on her call to violent action.

I don’t think beating an accused person before he is charged to court  should be part of our country’s civilisation and laws. The primacy of the rule of law is the rock of democracy and a stable society.

The presumption of innocence of an accused until proven guilty, in a court of law, is the  fundamental pillar of the country’s legal and justice system.

The first lady should advise herself of this fundamental principle of law: that no man or woman should be subjected to violence and other degrading treatments, whilst he maintain his innocence, until he is charged with the offence and convicted in a competent court of law.

Rape is a heinous crime second only to state corruption in my opinion. There are thousands of people in Sierra Leone, who are dying of hunger and treatable diseases because of state corruption in a day than rape victims dying in five years.

So we need to contextualise the gravity of both these heinous crimes to guide the appropriate policies.

Tackling these two greatest menaces in Sierra Leone is not through the application of violence, but a critical examination of why Sierra Leone society has degenerated into a stage where there are no longer values placed upon, nor respect for the rule of law and its enforcement.

The solutions could be found in the following:

1) the right national leadership with the knowledge, experience and honesty to transform the socio-economic systems of the country.

2) rape and corruption should be made mandatory extra-curricular subjects taught in all level of our educational establishment from primary to university education.

3), all girls and boys should be told of their rights and boundaries vis a vis how to behave with each other . My discussion with lawyers in Kenema  revealed  the fact that most of the rape cases they dealt  with in court were between boys and girls in schools.

4), Sierra Leone needs to define rape to take account of the complexities of the cultural, customary practices and beliefs that encourage and promote early marriage, sexual violence and abuse.

5) Government to criminalise the family mediation that is designed to stop a rape case brought to court, as this is obstruction of justice. This  further encourages rape, since the perpetrator  knows that he can get away with it, when the matter is settled out of court.

6) poverty, joblessness and lack of opportunities must command urgency in government’s annual  budget, to spread wealth across the country.   Anecdotal evidence suggests parents either give  blind eye to or actively encouraged their teenage or underage girls into early marriage, or enter into sexual relationship with far older men for family financial support.

During my tour of the Nongowa villages during my chieftaincy campaign, some women proposed to me to take their virgin daughter as my wife. It’s not a joke. And I found it rather sad.

7) government to establish after school youth clubs and centres to engage young girls in developing their awareness and understanding of their rights to their bodies and gender, as well as personal responsibility.

8) government to allocate 25 percent of all the external budgetary support  that it has received to strengthen the institutions and agencies, including the Family support unit of the police division to come up with programs that will not only stop rape against women, but to provide practical support for the victims. Therapy to relieve trauma, because rape is deeply traumatic, and provide safety through secured  accommodations.

I believe these measures will help establish the contextual  framework of policy initiatives and directives to give the public education needed, the practical support needed by rape victims and overall introduced greater awareness of violence and sexual violence against girls and women.

Violence against the accused and extra judicial action is totally unacceptable in modern society.

20 Comments

  1. Well in case you would still like to know I do not drive a car presently. My girlfriend does that kind of driving; I am a proud owner of a Kawasaki Ninja H29 that I bought solely for the purposes of outrunning the snail-slow frivolous criminal SLPP cabal; I enjoy leaving those dummies behind in the dust.(lol) Go right ahead and support them, but we warned – The SLPP is a failed party that cannot tell the difference between an ordinary sneeze and a regular cough; it is overcrowded like bees on a honeycomb with opportunists and vampires sucking the meager resources of our fragile struggling nation dry.

  2. Mr. Matturi, if you really comprehend and understand all my answers your understanding will tell you the essence of everything I noted. Complain? I believe you were shocked not expecting that kind of response. Let the reality speak for itself, it’s not fair in any civilized society, people just woke up in the morning having nothing to do, and started insulting his/her highest man in the land’s wife on social media. This is what I said, is that what you call a complain?

    First of all we have to respect women as a whole, let alone the first lady of the land. Let me affirm this to you. I am not an SLPP neither APC nor NGC period. I don’t know for how long you struggled to get your education. Please brother you’re a very intelligent person in writing, use your knowledge wisely with wisdom. Later

  3. Of course we are watching; and cautiously observing also how you and other SLPP supporters on this glorious forum, never cease to annoyingly and shockingly profess with arrogance and pomposity since your inglorious SLPP took over power, that you guys are now the BIG DEAL in our fragile struggling nation. Imagine that (lmao). SLPP tribalists that do not know even the simple rudiments,essentials and basics of law;that put carts overloaded with ideas and priorities before the horses that pull them, are here daily blowing loud irritating trumpets. Indeed, empty vessels are always known to make the most noise.

    • STARGAZER, it seems to me like you’re stepping on the wrong pedal. I don’t know what type of vehicle you are operating, whether 5 speed or automatic transmission, you’ve got to know the difference between the gas,brake and the clutch. In this noble platform I hope and pray that we are here to educate one another, not Express attitude or to introduce evil character. STARGAZER, you’re more than welcome to criticize the gov’t and say whatever you like. Nobody will control your mouth, but my only advise to you is, do not attack me.

      You might express your frustration because I don’t know why you guys are frustrated to date. Also I want to assure you that, I’m not an SLPP member for now. STARGAZER, brother let’s entertain but not insult. I don’t want us to go down that route please. If you can’t create a meaningful word that will benefit the nation, keep quiet – don’t ever attack me again. I gave an appropriate response to Sahr Matturi because he asked me to do so. May God continue to bless Sierra Leone.

  4. This is one of the fundamental difference between you and I, Mr. Sahr Matturi. Okay now let’s assume that the first lady H.E. Madam (Bio) was wrong, which of course she’s not. Will this warrant you to insult her and use indecent and vulgar language on her, saying “senseless stuff, outrageous, irresponsible, reckless?” I am not related to this woman neither have I met her ever in my life time. If she was one of your family members, what would be your reaction Mr. Sahr Matturi? Please tell me.

    Using the words “she was the founder and advocate” doesn’t mean that she is no longer active brother. Now let me ask you this simple question – if you tell me that you were born in Sierra Leone, does that mean you are no longer a Sierra Leonean? Mr. Matturi, the first lady is the founder of the program (hands off our girls) and she still active, that’s why the whole world supported her mission. Hope I answered your question. Yes of course to mob someone who raped and kill my daughter, deserves even more than mob, let’s go to the Moses law (eye for an eye).

    Watch some of your language, advocate of JUNTA/JUNGLE law, brother Matturi, what do you mean? Explain please. Mr. Maturri, I hope that the readers and Mr. Rashid Thomas are watching your language here in this noble platform. Not a day an encouraging words will come from you towards this Bio and his administration – none. We have defined our constitution as “a system of laws, customs and conventions through which the country is governed”. God does really protect out constitution brother. Also I would like you to use wisdom. When asking, do not challenge or tell someone – “reply me here quickly”. If you take your time in approaching someone, not only respect you will earn but also honor as well. May God protect Sierra Leone.

    • Mr Brima Sesay is complaining instead of answering to very simple questions. No need to further engage with you Mr. Brima Sesay. Writing three paragraphs story and taking ages to reply to very simple questions? Sorry Mr Brima Sesay. Hear Mr Brima Sesay, somewhere on planet earth telling me about relation or no relation with other people. Good night Mr Brima Sesay and may God help you.

  5. I like to mention another point on this topic. Since thousands of years women and girls are disadvantaged and exploited in all matters as human creatures of second class. The man is dominating up to now. God is a man. Eva and the fall of man. And this discrimination of woman has its background not only in the christian religion. Look at the arabic countries or india. We can only change this behavior with all encompassing enlightenment and education starting as early as possible.

  6. The criminal justice system is failing In Sierra Leone on all forms of sexual violence and abuse and has been for some time. The significant majority of those who subject to these traumatic crimes don’t have the confidence to report to the police, and a small minority of those who see the perpetrator even charged, let alone convicted. This means the overwhelming majority of people committing these serious offenses are walking free. A series of social media testimonies by women and girls whose complaints did not result in a prosecution include a woman who was allegedly raped by a stranger and women who said the accused threatened them with knives and other weapons.

    A woman who alleged that a man had raped her at gunpoint was told in a letter that the weapon was not a serious threat during the alleged attack, and that the man may have thought she consented. However, to incite violence is audacious and immoral of any wife of the president to encourage violence against an alleged rapist. Forewarning is the conduct of the period when we occupy a position where our conversations bear so much momentum that we need to be prudent. The wife of said president deserves censorship.  

  7. It’s unfortunate for this noble newspaper and forum with regards to what happened to this innocent 5 years old girl is now focused on our respected First Lady Fatima Bio who for the first time in the history of our nation has brought light to this destructive crime that have been a major problem around the world. In my personal opinion, this article is a distraction from the real issue which supposed to shock the conscience of every loving parents around the world, so politicizing this issue is a “LOW BLOW” just to gear up derogatory comments towards our First Lady.

    This newspaper is famous for speed and accurate information but unfortunately, this is the first time I have read about this serious and sensitive issue since the spontaneous outburst and demonstrations that took place not only in our country but internationally. I believe that since this incident is now in the hands of the investigators and the judiciary, people have to respect the victim and her family and give them time to reflect and mourn the death and demand justice for not only Kadijah but all our innocent girls and boys instead of minimizing or trivializing the seriousness of the crime around the hatred and black heart for our President and his wife.

  8. There should be no mob justice for rape crimes. Because if we go down that route, it will undermine the principle of presumption of innocent. That is the legal principle that one is considered innocent of a crime until proven. I can understand the frustration expressed by the first lady Madam Fatima Bio. Rape has become like an epidemic in Sierra Leone. Not long ago president Bio declared a national rape emergency. Unfortunately, Sierra Leone, South Africa and India are three of the most prolific countries, where rape of women has become a national crisis.

    A number of rape cases in Sierra have put the spotlight on how women are treated as second class citizens in our country. A national help line to report rape cases will help to prosecute perpetrators. Becasue sometimes rape victims are scared to tell their families because of all the stigma associated with it. Educating both boys and girls in schools and colleges will also boost confidence to rape victims to report cases. We have to remember rape was used as a weapon during the civil war. And some of the RUF child soldiers, are now adults. They might have handed in their AK 47 rifles, but their mentality of abusing women is still embedded in their brain.

  9. This terrible topic of rape and sexual abuse you will find all over the world. In most cases girls and young woman are the victims and the vast majority of cases the abuser is a man of the near environment- may be a family member. The dark figure is very high.

    Little bit I can understand of fatima Bio as a woman, maybe with bad experiences in her own childhood, to take direct action of punishment (mob justice?). Sure, we all on this forum will say we have to bring this abuser to police and to court. But please, the majority on this forum are men, let me ask you, when you heard that your girlchild was raped by a person you know from your near enviroment, would you keep calm and charge him to court, or would you go and beat him directly? Think about it.

    • Mr Wiecha…unlike advanced democracies like Germany,Britain,France,and the United States that have credible institutions to maintain law and order,our little nation is still struggling in its infancy;we are literally on all fours,crawling on the rugged footpaths and corridors that will lead us to genuine freedom,liberty,and justice.Even though the act of rape is a gruesome and sickening crime,we cannot allow individuals to take the law into their own hands in this fragile nation of ours.We must be careful not to set a precedent that just might outlast us,and continue forever,like a raging forest fire out of control.

      Again,the state must not be seen as being emotional,and biased when it comes to enforcing the law – every individual must feel protected,and safe under the umbrella of any progressive democratic state.Now Isk you,although the first reaction that may come to someone whose child or sister has been raped is to exact revenge through the use of violence,tell me Sir exactly what is there to be gained by beating or killing the perpetrator of such a heinous crime?And remember any nation that doesn’t know how to temper justice with mercy will only end up become a depraved,degenerate nefarious society that will be of no benefit to anyone.

  10. Will you be happy or allowed your 5 year old daughter or sister to be molested, raped and murdered in senseless behavior like this? Our first lady H.E. Fatima J.Bio was the advocate for the “hands off our girls”. Is she doing the right thing or not? In some countries, rapists have no place in society. My twin sister was raped to death during the war, I am totally against rapists and I will campaign against them, brother. How can a country like this move forward, by engaging only in hatred and insulting their leaders?

    • You are perfectly right Mr Brima Sesay to say that the First Lady was the advocate for the “hands off our girls”, underlined “was”. Your statement means to me, that she is no longer that advocate. Secondly, nobody on this glorious platform is happy or supporting the perpetrators of this horrendous crime. I hope you get that clearly. Will you please tell me any follow ups that this First Lady has done since she established the so called “hands off our girls” project? Do you support mob justice?
      Do you believe that Sierra Leone is a civilized country and must be governed by the constitution and the rule of law?

      Finally, what people and colleagues on this glorious platform are saying is that we can’t accept mob justice in our society. We have a government and constitution that governs all of us and that the first lady, Fatima Bio should not be an advocate of JUNTA/JUNGLE law. What the First Lady did is an embarrassment to President Bio, the SLPP party, triggered by an absolute disastrous leadership failure by President Bio to do follow ups on the “rape emergency” executive order. Your thoughts and please reply to my questions Mr. Brima Sesay. God protect our constitution and help those positioning themselves as defacto President.

  11. Another straight-talk, candid opinion piece by Mr. Samba. A must read for all patriotic Sierra Leoneans, especially our policy makers and those in influential positions interested in clamping down this rape menace in our society.

  12. Senseless stuff Indeed. Not only outrageous and irresponsible, but also reckless in my view. This first lady spent millions of Leones of taxpayers money for her “hands off our girls” project. All we heard was a scandal in terms of how the money was mismanaged. More importantly, this first lady always has problems with the public, each time she goes out there and makes silly or bullish rhetoric. Does her office lack qualified, sensible and cool headed individuals to check and edit her appalling verbal rhetoric? How can she just go out there and incite mob justice? Again, totally reckless and irresponsible for any First Lady. It will be a good idea for the First Lady to work with our disciplined IG Sovula’s police force, the Ministry of Gender, community elders and our paramount chiefs to eliminate what is becoming a culture.

    Finally, what the First Lady Fatima Jabbie Bio has done, shows the leadership failure of President Bio and the Bio SLPP, when it comes to fighting rape. With a “rape emergency” and millions of Leones “hands off our girls” project in place, nothing has changed. The rape crimes continue unabated. My advice to the First Lady is to hand over the “hands off our girls” project to the Ministry of Gender and the disciplined IG Sovula. They have the expertise and capacity to execute such projects and mobilize the resources to clamp down on rape dens in the country. God bless IG Sovula, the Minister of Gender, our community elders, paramount chiefs, and of course Mr. Yankuba Kai Samba. God help the first lady.

    • Thanks for your brilliant thought sir, Bio has got no discipline on his wife in the first place, and that’s why we shouldn’t expect the country to be of great height. Fatima Bio is a complete mess as a first lady as well. But God will deliver us from this reckless and undemocratic government we find ourselves.

  13. And who is surprised that a she-wolf can be as ruthless,merciless,and totally unforgiving as her mate the wicked wolf that dwells in “THE LION MOUNTAINS”? Since the notorious SLPP took over the reins of power there has been loose cannons everywhere,creating,and promoting chaos for friends,and foes alike. Opportunists they are,and none can build a strong prosperous nation,with a solid foundation with chancers,and arrogant changeable chameleons as their loyal guides. Seriously, this government is here to settle old scores,promote lawlessness and anarchy.A dangerous precedent they are trying to set – husband and wife,by encouraging the masses to engage themselves in vigilante justice as if the rights of citizens to be protected under law irrespective of the crimes they have committed is meaningless.

    The State is to be seen as our dearest and benevolent mother with countless children,good,ugly and bad and her responsibility is to be tolerant, and even handed towards them all;Will a loving mother kill one of her own for destroying her expensive dress by urinating profusely on her? Of course not! Instead she will rebuke the child saying;”You should know better than this,now until you learn to act sensibly as i have trained you,there will be no more going to the playground with friends for you” There are diverse,and pragmatic ways to address the issues and problems of rape as the writer indicated above,but taking the law into you own hands will not solve anything at all.Its a DEAD END,a position that is bound to be unprofitable,leading to nothing beneficial further.

  14. Great analysis and brilliant proposal to an amicable solution to these two crimes. I have always believed corruption is a human rights crime and it’s past time governments and international development and financial organizations address it aggressively and swiftly. Rape is as inhumane and devastating as it’s counterpart, corruption. Mob action is equally a crime against the victims.

    Jungle justice was a colonial tactics enforced by those in charge to suppress and demean the legal process. No one, irrespective of his/her status in society should have the moral courage to suggest the use of mob justice to resolve any legal or social issue. Let the rule of law take its course.

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